Today's Papers

Augusto Seizure

The Washington Post lead and the Los Angeles Times top non-local story report Britain’s arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The New York Times leads with Republicans’ waning hopes that Flytrap will mean big gains for the GOP on Election Day.

The NYT lead says that strategists sense a pre-scandal atmosphere as elections draw near. Republican hopes of gaining more than a dozen House seats and the magic number 60 in the Senate are slim. Democrats may even go on the offensive-Democratic campaigns are waiting anxiously on poll results for a Washington State candidate whose commercial attacks his opponent’s participation in the impeachment proceedings.

The WP lead story, which makes the fronts at all three weekend papers, reports that British officials arrested a convalescing Pinochet yesterday in a London hospital and will extradite him to Spain. The NYT says that although Chile has called for the release of the 82 year-old former military strong man (and permanent Chilean Senator) on grounds of diplomatic immunity, Spain and Britain have “shrugged off the protests.” Pinochet has been accused, among other things, of atrocities against Spanish citizens in Chile. The NYT also notes the impending legal struggle’s implications for future attempts at international prosecution of human rights violators.

A NYT Week in Review article examines the legitimacy of McCarthyism in light of information recently recovered from Soviet records. Sensitive documents dealing with American foreign policy and the Manhattan Project were given to the Soviets and may have accelerated the development of a Soviet nuclear bomb by several years. One historian hypothesizes that if FDR had died during his third term, two likely Soviet agents would have been front runners for Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary.

A Post Outlook piece says that the British agree: the United Kingdom will not exist in 20 to 30 years. The union’s dissolution, while welcomed by the culturally confident Celts, may produce an upper lip-testing identity crisis among the English, who lately find themselves better known for soccer hooliganism and tainted beef than for bus stop queues and dead fish handshakes. While the NYT ran a similar article last Wednesday, the Outlook piece delves deeper into the historical and political background of the crumbling union.

The New York Times Magazine features a special issue on the business of sports. A story frets that media giants’ purchases of sports teams will change the way games are played. Who’ll stop Fox (owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers), Disney (Anaheim Angels), and Time Warner (Atlanta Braves) from forcing star athletes to play when it will boost ratings on their own networks or from altering rules to make sports more TV friendly?

Several Times Magazine stories explore fan loyalty. In one, Baltimore Orioles fans sound off to the O’s owner, demanding cheaper tickets and more dedicated players (the owner is noncommittal). In another, a New York Knicks fan complains that her courtside seats have shot up in price even as the team declines. Other stories profile a superagent winning mammoth contracts for his baseball player clients, a rookie quarterback learning how to play the endorsements game, and NBA Commissioner David Stern, who micromanages the league’s image, coordinating everything from media coverage to promotional “sock giveaways.”